Chapter Four

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The silence in the car was steely as Thom drove through the Ohio border. Merlin, for whatever reason, was pissed at me like I was the one who was acting like a complete tool. I snorted a laugh under my breath and I could feel Merlin glaring daggers at the back of my head.

Thom—who seemed very uncomfortable with the fact Merlin and I absolutely hated each other—decided we should make a rest stop for food and bathroom breaks.

"Fine," Merlin and I chorused curtly.

There was a sour taste in my mouth at saying the same thing he did, but I swallowed it as we pulled into a Rest Area.

We all stepped out of the car. Thom, Merlin and I all stood in a semi-circle as, already every woman in the parking lot had her eyes on Merlin. If only they knew how much of a prick he was.

"I'll be gone a little while. Here." He handed me a ten dollar bill. "Get you and Merlin something from those vending machines." He jerked his chin to a small corner where two vending machines and a couple of soda machines sat. "Behave while I'm gone, will you?"

"I behave just fine," Merlin spoke up for the first time. "I believe you should tell the little girl to behave."

I snapped my head around and met his eyes, ready to lay into him, when Thom coughed loudly. I turned to meet his eyes and he held mine firmly before glaring over at Merlin.

"I mean it, you two." He turned his gaze back to me, holding my eyes seriously. "We won't find Nicole like this, Lucy. As much as I know you two don't get along, don't forget about your mother." He looked at Merlin. "And don't you forget that Lucinda is an important part of saving you and Camelot, Merlin."

Merlin turned his head away sharply, mumbling something under his breath.

I smiled thinly. "I'll be fine, Thom. Go."

He looked at me for a minute, gauging the expression on my face, before he took a deep breath and nodded, resting a hand on my shoulder. He turned and left, leaving me alone with Merlin.

I took a deep breath of my own and started toward the vending machines, saying nothing as I walked forward and away from Merlin. I got a couple of bags of chips, candy bars and sodas for the three of us and then I made my way back.

"Here." I handed Merlin his portion—a little roughly—then opened the passenger's door, placing the rest of it inside.

I was bent over in the car, putting snacks away when he spoke up.

"We should train," came Merlin's voice.

I turned to look at him only to find he wasn't looking at me, his eyes were averted and his cheeks were pink. If he had been a normal guy, I would've thought he had been checking me out, then was embarrassed about it and looked away before I could see him. Alas, Merlin was not a normal guy. I could only conclude his cheeks were so pink because of the cold and his eyes were averted because... well... he never looked at me.

"You want to teach me more magic?" I asked, straightening up and leaning against the open car door.

He cleared his throat and nodded once, still not looking at me.

"Alright." I looked at him suspiciously as I spoke slowly. He was always a man of a few words, but now he was acting weird.

He held out his hand and—after much deliberation—I finally took it. The world around us warped and faded away until we were back in the forest we had been in hours before. He dropped my hand immediately—almost as if it burned him—and took a few steps back.

Again, I looked at him suspiciously. I wondered if there was some LSD or meth in those pancakes he'd eaten this morning. He was acting so...odd. Even for him.

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